Jussie Smollett update: Kim Foxx backs away from political accusations against special prosecutor after 'Empire' actor re-indicted

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A day after a six-count grand jury indictment was handed up against former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly lying to authorities, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx is backing away from accusations they may be politically-motivated.

Smollett was re-indicted for allegedly lying about an attack he said took place in Streeterville in January of last year

Smollett claimed he had been attacked in by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him. Police said Smollett staged the attack on himself because he was unhappy with his salary on the show "Empire."

WATCH: Timeline of Events in Jussie Smollett case
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"Empire" actor and R&B singer Jussie Smollett told Chicago police in January that two men physically attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs. There have been dozens of twists and turns since then.



All 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct were dropped last February by Foxx's office.

Special Prosecutor Dan Webb was then appointed in August to examine that decision, resulting in the indictment against Smollett Tuesday.

Foxx, already under fire for her handling of the case, is now facing a new round of criticism for accusing Webb of being politically motivated in the timing of the indictment.

"We are continuing to avail ourselves to a review of how this case was handled," Foxx said. "As I said from the very beginning, we welcome the non-political review and that is ongoing."

"They're doing the job she didn't do. So for her to say this was in any way intended to affect her in a negative way is on beyond the pale," Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, attorney for the Osundairo brothers, who said they were paid to stage the attack on Smollett.

She said for her client, the charges alone are not a vindication.

"They just want the public to know what really happened, they want the public to know what their role in all of this was, and they want the public to heal," said Schmidt Rodriguez.

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A day after a six-count grand jury indictment was handed up against former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett for lying to authorities, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx spoke abou



Smollett's attorney echoing that sentiment, saying in a statement in part, "After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence. The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State's Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice."

But Wednesday Foxx side-stepped any criticism of Webb.

"You know, I'm not going to get into that, we have an election that's coming up in the next five weeks, I certainly would hope that the decision that was made based on the facts, the evidence and the law," she said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who like Webb is a former federal prosecutor, defended his decision to charge Smollett with lying to police, but said she did not want to wade into the politics or timing of it all.

"I think the evidence before was incredibly compelling and I haven't seen the specifics of the indictment, meaning reading it, but the evidence was the evidence so it's not a surprise to me that the special prosecutor reached the same conclusions as the grand jury had previously reached," the mayor said.

One expert believes Foxx will weather the storm come Election Day.

"She was on her way to winning the primary election pretty easily," said Dick Simpson, UIC professor of political science. "It's not clear this will defeat her, it will certain lower her margin of support.

Foxx said her office is cooperating with Webb's ongoing investigation; he is still trying to determine if there was any wrongdoing by Foxx or anyone in her office. Webb declined to comment Wednesday.

Foxx's opponent in the March 17 primary, Bill Conway, has been hammering the airways for weeks with an ad criticizing Foxx for giving Smollett preferential treatment compared to his client, charged with a similar crime.

Another opponent, Donna More, issued a statement saying, "This can no longer be considered just an error in judgment or a disappointing lack of transparency. There may be significant wrongdoing on the part of the State's Attorney."

Smollett is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on February 24.

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